Pickerel Lake tract donated to South Dakota in honor of long-time GFP member Tim Kessler

Capitol News Bureau
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FORT PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — South Dakota soon will have another 440 acres for the public to enjoy in Day County.

The state Game, Fish and Parks Commission on Thursday accepted the donation of land adjacent to Pickerel Lake Recreation Area.

Pheasants Forever gave the ground as a tribute to Tim Kessler of Aberdeen. He served a total of 16 years on the commission, starting in 1990.

He decided against serving a reappointment to the commission offered by then-Governor Mike Rounds in 2010. Kessler said he didn’t want a fight in court over whether another term would have violated a state law that limited a GFP appointee to no more than eight years in most instances.

Kessler also served on the Pheasants Forever board of directors.

Paul Coughlin, a state Wildlife Division official, said the land could be turned “into quite a showcase.”

The donation of native prairie, wetlands, and cropland is in some good waterfowl-breeding territory and has habitat for pheasants, sharp-tail grouse, white tailed deer, and other wetland and upland nongame species.

The transaction is expected to wrap up in January. Pheasants Forever, Nestle Purina PetCare and Pickerel Lake Conservancy contributed funding to match a North American Wetlands Conservation Act grant.

The project is one of the newest through Pheasant Forever’s Build A Wildlife Area program.

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